The Ohio government delayed the planned execution of a 69-year-old convicted murderer on Wednesday after officials were unable to find a suitable vein in the inmate, who has numerous illnesses including cancer, the Columbus Dispatch newspaper reported.
Alva Campbell Jr., who also suffers from lung disease, asthma and heart problems and uses a walker and colostomy bag, had argued through his lawyer that he was too sick for a lethal injection, but lost a bid to be killed by a firing squad instead.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court had rejected a final appeal by Campbell to stop the execution at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. David Stebbins, Campbell's lawyer, had argued that Campbell's medical conditions could make it hard to find suitable veins to inject.
"The execution was halted," Stebbins wrote in an email on Wednesday. "I have no further information."
Campbell, who has said he was beaten and abused as a child, recently lost a bid to be executed by a firing squad, and Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich had rejected clemency.
Campbell served 20 years of a life sentence for killing a man in Cleveland before being released by a parole board in 1992. Five years after his release, he was arrested and jailed for robbery in Columbus, Ohio, and was awaiting a court date when he faked paralysis, according to court documents.
As a deputy was transporting Campbell in a wheelchair to the courthouse, he suddenly beat the deputy, stole her pistol and fled, according to court records. He then car-jacked and fatally shot 18-year-old Charles Dials. Campbell was convicted in 1997 on robbery and murder charges.
Campbell had been the latest inmate to challenge Ohio's lethal injection methods. In September, Ohio put to death a double murderer, Gary Otte, in its second execution after a three-year hiatus because of legal challenges and difficulties obtaining lethal injection drugs.
Otte was put to death after he lost an appeal challenging the use of midazolam as a sedative in that protocol. Several U.S. states, including Oklahoma and Arizona, have used midazolam in executions in which witnesses said inmates appeared to twist in pain.
Twenty-four more inmates after Campbell are slated for execution in Ohio through 2022.
(Reporting by Chris Kenning in Chicago; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Nick Zieminski)